Oyster Mix: Queenies
Plus we review the pan tropical culinary delights of the new restaurant above The Forresters.
Queenies recently opened within a conveniently close vicinity to our office. It was as if they knew that we at Oyster were fans of reggae and delicious cocktails. Sitting atop of The Forresters hotel in Surry Hills, Queenies is brought to you by the guys behind The Flinders, The Norfolk, The Abercrombie, The Carrington and — opening tonight in Kings Cross — Santa Barbara.
Boasting "pan tropical specialties" the menu is filled with Jamaican-infused culinary delights. Myself and our Editorial Assistant Emily went there for lunch to bring you our verdict (tough life). It's important to remind you that Emily is a very fussy eater and her diet consists primarily of white bread, french fries, butter, cheese, croissants, and salt and vinegar chips. (I was with her this year the first time she tried beetroot. She is 27-years-old. She did not like it.) With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that she was somewhat apprehensive about consuming said pan tropical specialties.
We entered the amazingly decorated restaurant (fake flowers, terrible/amazing paintings of sunsets and porcelain tiger heads) and were seated in a plaid-upholstered booth as traditional stoner music played. Emily nervously surveyed the menu, desperately searching for a white-based food. After asking Google what the hell 'plantain' is (is it a banana? Is it a potato?) Emily ordered the dish — fried plantain with chilli salt and spiced mayo ($8). "I felt conflicted emotions about the concept of eating a savoury fried banana which was kind of like a potato, but it was actually pretty good," she says. Her meal was accompanied by dirty rice with coriander, spring onions, mint and allspice ($5), which she also did not hate.
Because I am a real human I branched out a little more and got the BBQ King fish with escowitch bell peppers ($20). It was really great, very smokey. We also had a prawn, mango and ginger bammie each ($10 for two). If you have no idea what a bammie is, it's a whole heap of ingredients stacked on a delicious pastry base somewhat like a tartlet but better and less Women's Day cooking book circa 1996.
And as for the drinks — we had a few of those too. I mean, no, we definitely did not come back to the office slightly inebriated and go through our emails. I enjoyed a coconut daiquiri with chilli salt rim ($16) which was like drinking summer. Emily had a drink called a 'Bikini Line' — tequila, lime, spices and a coconut rim ($16). Perhaps she is slightly more adventurous with her tastebuds when it comes to liquids, or perhaps she just wanted an excuse to say 'bikini line'. Either way, she knocked it back quicker than a semi-retiree at a cruise ship bar.
Along with the Jamaican cuisine and cocktails, the guys have a fresh taste in reggae. To prove it, they compiled a mix for us that is synonymous with the vibes that emanate from their cavern of Caribbean tropicana.
They also told us 10 sweet facts about the restaurant:
• Queenies is a made up name. it was on the list of baby names for my daughter (who got the name Winnie in the end).
• Jerk is Jamaica's most famous cooking ingredient. Its made from pimento & scotch bonnet peppers. We have 15 menu items with jerk in 'em. Jerk can be blow-your-face-off hot
• We have a drink dedicated to Prince Zimboo called Zimboo Juice. "We don't drink water cause fish have sex in it."
• Our bammy is a bit like a Jamaican taco/tostada. We press ground cassava into a little disc, steam it, soak it in coconut milk and fry it. Throw some pulled pork or prawn on it. Tastes good.
• Our lightshades are made out of 3D placemats we bought from a two dollar shop.
• We have 25 Yellowman songs on our playlist, reggae's only albino MC megastar.
• Our bar is dedicated to Viv Richards aka the Masterblaster. A pot-smoking-cricket-legend amongst men.
• The secret ingredient to our Dutty Riddim (our take on sangria) is…Jager.
• The rasta slang for sex is "clapping beef". Good name for a food special.
• It's Curry Goat, not Goat Curry. Apparently this matters.
Queenies is located at Level 1, 336 Riley Street, Surry Hills. They are open five nights a week (Tuesday through Saturday) and for lunch on Fridays. Like them on Facebook!
And listen to/download their exclusive mix: